DELAVAN — As freshman, the Delavan-Darien High School graduating class of 2013 signed a banner committing themselves to working hard and understanding that when it comes to school, as the banner says, “It’s all about learning.”
The 153 graduates have grown to understand that life is all about learning, and here is the proof all DDHS graduates can be proud of:
- Fifty percent of this class, ended high school with a grade point average above 3.0 – placing them on the honor roll, with 35 students graduating with a high-honors grade point of 3.75 or better;
- This class has a member, Hayley Severson, who is a National Merit Scholarship recipient – a rare distinction – that demonstrates her academic promise and distinguished performance nationally. She is one of about 15,000 students nationally to receive such an honor;
- Fifty-seven members of this class took a school record 146 Advanced Placement tests in 12 areas, potentially earning more than 500 college credits.
- Members of the Class of 2013 have already earned college credits and recognition in engineering, welding, business, computer skills and even filling out income tax forms. Thirteen grads have been accepted to study at the Milwaukee School of Engineering through their work in our Project Lead the Way program;
- There are 10 Wisconsin Covenant Scholars in the class. They are among the first students in the state to graduate with such a distinction;
- Members of this class have taken more online courses than any class before them at DDHS, and they are the first graduates to pilot a “Bring Your Own Device” technology initiative. Their record for online coursework probably won’t stand long as the district will give DDHS students one-to-one access to technology devices (Chromebooks) starting next year;
- As a class, the graduates have performed 4,250 hours of community service during the last four years. They generously led the effort to raise money for the United Way, for the MACC Fund, local food pantries and shelters, and much more;
- Members of this class have overcome difficulties to graduate – often times juggling school, work, and responsibilities at home while still completing the requirements for their high school diploma. This year, there are a combined 22 graduates from the alternative education R.I.S.E. program at DDHS and the alternative high school in Elkhorn.
Now, the graduates of the DDHS Class of 2013, the 56th graduating class from DDHS, will step into the post-secondary world, seeking jobs, joining the military (six graduates have committed to serve our country), starting a family, or going to a university, college or technical school.
“Often the next step of our lives is frightening and filled with uncertainty,” Severson said in her graduation class speech. “The unknown brings anxiety and seemingly insurmountable changes that come with working toward an ambition.”
Severson spoke about how students have dealt with change before, and they’ll have to deal with it again as they move on to this next chapter in their lives. She recited a quote from President John F. Kennedy: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
She told her classmates to look forward to what changes are to come for them next, without fear, anxiety or uncertainty.
“Change goes hand in hand with progress,” she said. “We must make our mark on the world by taking the necessary steps to lead a successful and productive life. While we may not know for sure what is ahead of us, I know that every one of us has what it takes to accomplish anything we put our minds to. As we leave here today I want each and every one of you to remember you have an amazing life to live. So don’t be afraid of the future: embrace it.”
Scholarships: In total, from local and other sources, Delavan-Darien High School Graduates earned more than $680,000 in scholarships. From local sources, 131 scholarships were given out this year, totaling more than $152,000. For just the second time since the Delavan-Darien Foundation was developed in 1972, all seniors who applied for a local scholarship received at least one of the available scholarships managed by the Foundation.
Top Students: Class speaker and National Merit Scholarship winner/finalist Hayley Severson was the class valedictorian. She had a grade point average of over 4.6. Classmate Michael Vander Zee was the salutatorian with a GPA of more than 4.5.
Literacy focused: as a class gift, the seniors donated the Delavan-Darien community’s first “Free Little Library.” The little library — in a weatherproof birdhouse shape — houses two small shelves of books, which people are free to take and read. Community members are also encouraged to donate books to the library at any time.
“Literacy has grown to become one of the most important skills someone can have in today’s society,” senior Nicky Sterken said to the audience. “Promoting literacy among the youth of our community is essential for both the childrens’ and our community’s growth. As a class, we decided that the best gift to offer is one for the children that will one day walk these same halls that we have during the past four years.”
The little library will be located by the School Administration Center once it is ready for installation.
(*NOTE: DDHS Graduation DVD videos will be available at the School Administration Center during the week of June 10.)